Elgin lynching mural put in storage

  • Hemmens Cultural Center Director Butch Wilhelmi removed the "American Nocturne" mural from the center Friday morning to put it in storage. The controversial mural was inspired by a 1930 lynching photo.

      Hemmens Cultural Center Director Butch Wilhelmi removed the "American Nocturne" mural from the center Friday morning to put it in storage. The controversial mural was inspired by a 1930 lynching photo. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/17/2016 7:55 PM

A controversial Elgin mural inspired by a 1930 lynching photo was removed from the Hemmens Cultural Center and put in storage Friday morning.

A broad majority of city council members "did not express opposition" to removing the "American Nocturne" mural from public display, which was recommended by the city's cultural arts commission earlier this week, senior management analyst Aaron Cosentino said in an email to council members.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The cultural arts commission will meet July 11 and recommend what to do with the mural, such as donating it to a museum, selling it or even returning it to the artist, David Powers.

The city council will make a final decision. A public discussion about it is expected.

"Removing the mural from public view is a step that both responds to community feedback and provides the cultural arts commission and city council time to consider a final determination. Until then, the mural will be in storage," Cosentino's email states.

The mural depicts the crowd at a lynching in Marion, Indiana, but not the lynching itself. It was displayed outdoors downtown since 2007, and was moved indoors to the Hemmens Cultural Center last month after its origins became known publicly for the first time.

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